Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cost of Eating: Canada vs USA {groceries}

My parents and I decided to make a "fake" grocery list of (mostly) basic food items that everyone has in their pantry and write down the total cost for the items at our respective grocery stores- theirs in Ontario and mine in Pennsylvania.

The idea started when John and I went grocery shopping in Ontario, before heading for my parent's house in December.  I wanted to pick up a few things that I knew my parents wouldn't have.  We maxed our weekly grocery budget in short order and I was shocked at the prices.  It was the first time I had ever really paid attention to the cost of food in Canada...because this time I was paying.

I spend $80 a week on groceries in the states, and try very hard not to go over-budget.  I rarely do, though there are weeks I have to wonder how I managed to pull it off.  I am currently looking into coupon stacking which will potentially lower my weekly costs by even more, but for now, I browse the flyers and plan my menu by sales.  I have NEVER paid more than $1.99/lb for meat.  It's all about stockpiling and buying enough to last until the next sale.

Anyway, when I expressed my surprise to my parents, we thought it would be fun to see how much of a difference there REALLY is by making the aforementioned "fake" list and writing down the prices to find the total.  It took a while to get around to doing this, but on Thursday, we finally wrote a list, and the results are in.


We agreed to buy the cheapest brand in each category, rather than worry about labels and name brands.  I shopped at Shoprite and Produce Junction.  My parents shopped at Zehrs.  If the item was on sale, we noted the sale price, NOT the regular price.  


1 liter 2% milk
1 dozen eggs
16oz block cheddar cheese
16 slices processed cheese
1 carton cream cheese
16 oz sour cream
large container of vanilla yogurt
1 lb butter
1 qt vanilla ice cream
1 liter orange juice
1 tin coffee
3 lbs chicken breast
1 lb ground beef
3 lb roast beef (cheapest cut)
3 lbs green pepper
5 lbs apples
4 lbs bananas
1 head romaine lettuce
1 head broccoli
10 lbs potatoes
3 lemons
1 avocado
5 lbs white flour
5 lbs white sugar
spaghetti pasta
28 oz can diced tomatoes
28 oz can tomato sauce
small can tomato paste
1 loaf wheat bread
Oreo cookies
16oz peanut butter
1 can tuna fish
2 cans baked beans
1 pkg long-grain rice
ketchup (average squeeze-bottle size)
1 bottle salad dressing
'medium' box of Cheerios
laundry detergent (small bottle)


The GRAND TOTAL was....

$153.89 in Canada


$70.22 in the USA


Elizabeth said...

Amazing...can you buy all my groceries. :) Kinda fun to see the difference! - Liz

Anonymous said...

my goodness! that is an insane difference. Definitely can't wait to move to the states for that reason! We spend so much money on food every two weeks I have no idea how you spend 80 bucks on three people.

~XOXO Angela

Cherish said...

That really is amazing, but what is there to do about it all? We just have to suck it up and pay the higher prices :(